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Japanese Fairy Tale Series, No. 10.

The Matsuyama Mirror.


Published by T, HASEGAWA, 17 Kami Begishi, TOKYO.



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LONG long time ago,

there lived in a quiet

spot, a young man and his wife.

had one child, a little

daughter, whom they both loved
with all their hearts. I cannot

tell you their names, for they have

been long since forgotten, but the

name of the place where they

lived was Matsuyama, in the

province of Echigo.
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It happened once, while the lit-

tie girl was still a baby ?

that the

father was obliged to go to the

the capital of Japan,

great city,

upon some business. It was too far

for the mother and her little baby

to go, so he set out alone, after

bidding them good bye, and

promising to bring them home

some pretty present.

The mother had never been fur-

ther from home than the next

village, and she could not help

a little at the
being frightened

thought of her husband taking

such a long journey, and yet she
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was a little proud too, for he was

the first man in all that country

side who had been to the big town

where the King and his great lords

lived, and where there were so

many beautiful and curious things

to be seen.

At last the time came when she

might expect her husband back, so

she dressed the baby in its best

clothes, and herself put on a pretty

blue dress which she knew her
husband liked.

You may fancy how glad this

wife was to see him come
home safe and sound, and how the
her hands, and
little girl clapped
when she
laughed with delight,

saw the her father had

pretty toys
for her. He had much to
tell of all the wonderful things he

had seen upon the journey, and in

the town itself.

"I have brought you a very

pretty thing," said he to his wife:
"it is called a mirror. Look and
tell me what you see inside." He
gave to her plain, white wooden

box, in which, when she had

opened it, she found a round piece

of metal. One side was white like

frosted silver, and ornamented

with raised figures of birds and

flowers, the other was bright as

the clearest crystal. Into it the

young mothr looked with delight

and astonishment, for, from its

depths was looking at her with

parted lips and bright eyes, a

smiling happy face.

"What do you see?" again
asked the husband, pleased at her

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astonishment, and glad to show

that he had learned something

while he had been away. "I see

a pretty woman looking at me, and

she moves her lips as if she was

speaking, and dear me, how odd,

she has on a blue dress just like

mine!" "Why, you silly woman,

it is your own face that you see,"

said the husband, proud of know-

ing something that his wife

didn't know. That round piece of

metal is called a mirror, in the

town every body has one, although

we have not seen them in this

country place before.
The wife was charmed with her

present, and, for a few days could

not look into the mirror often

enough, for you must remember,

that, as this was the first time

she had seen a mirror, so, of

course, it was the first time she

had ever seen the reflection of

her own pretty face. But she con-

sidered such a wonderful thing far

too precious for every day use,

and soon shut it up in its box

again, and put it away carefully

among her most valued treasures.

Years past on, and the husband

and wife still lived happily. The
joy of their life was their little

daughter, who grew up the very

image of her mother, and who was

so dutiful and affectionate that

every body loved her. Mindful of

her own little passing vanity on

finding herself so lovely, the mother

kept the mirror carefully hidden

away, fearing that the use of it

might breed a spirit of pride in her


She never spoke of it, and

as for the father, he had forgotten
all about it. So it
happened that
the daughter grew up as simple
as the mother had been, and knew
nothing of her own good looks,

or of the mirror which would have

reflectd them.

But bye and bye a terrible mis-

fortune happened to this happy

family. The good, kind mother
fell sick;
and, although her daugh-
ter waited upon her day and
night, with loving care, she got j

worse and worse, until at last there

was no hope but that she must die.

When she found that she must

so soon leave her husband and

child, the poor woman felt very

sorrowful, grieving for those |j

was going to leave behind, and

most of all for her little daughter.

She called the girl to her and

said; "My darling child, you know

I am soon I must
that very sick:

die, and leave your dear iather

alone. When I am
and you
me that will
gone, promise
look into this mirror every night
and every morning: there you
that I am still
see me, and know
With these
watching over you."
from its
words she took the mirror
it to her
hiding place and gave
The child promised,

many tears, and so the mother,

seeming now calm and resigned,.

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died a short time after.

Now this obedient and dutiful

her mother's
daughter, never forgot
last request, but each morning and
mirror from its
evening took the
looked in it
hiding place, and
There she saw
long and earnestly.
the bright and smiling vision of

her lost mother. Not pale and


her last days, but the

sickly as in

beautiful young mother of long ago.

To her at night she told the story

of the trials and difficulties of the

day, to her in
the morning she

looked for sympathy and encour-

be in
agement in whatever might
store for her. So day by day she lived

as in her mother's sight, striving

still to please her as she had

done in her life time, and careful

always to avoid whatever might

her. Her
pain or grieve greatest

to be able to look in the

joy was
mirror and say; "Mother, I have

been today what you would have

me to be."

Seeing her every night and

look into the
morning, without fail,

mirror, and seem to hokd converse

with it, her father at length asked

her the reason of her strange

behaviour. "Father," she said,

look in the mirror every day to

see my dear mother and to talk

with her." Then she told him of

her mothers dying wish, and how

she had never failed to fulfil

Touched by so much simplicity,

and such faithful, loving obedience,

the father shed tears of pity

and affection.

Nor could he

find it in his

heart to tell
the child, that the image she saw

the mirror, was but the reflection

of her own sweet face, by constant

sympathy and association, becoming

more and more like her dead
mother's day by day.